I didn't find it on Pinterest, but Food Inc posted a link to a story about making your own household cleaners. One of the tips is to mix two cups of borax with two cups of washing soda (more washing soda for hard water like I have in Lubbock) to make your own dishwasher detergent. I tried to pin the story, but Pinterest couldn't find a usable image. Damn!
Cascade packs are expensive. Even with coupons. I cringe when I have to buy them. Plus, who knows what's in them? Does it all rinse off your dishes that your family eats from? I don't know, so in light of all this, I was excited to read that I can make my own dishwasher detergent.
We have very hard water in West Texas, so I mixed two cups of borax with three cups of washing soda (remember--more washing soda for hard water) that I had leftover from making my own laundry detergent. I put the detergent in a clear plastic container identical to the one I used for the laundry detergent.
I am currently running my first load with the homemade detergent. I filled the pocket to its rim, and it seems to have washed out completely. Not bad, considering the gels and liquids never rinse out and leave a white, crusty residue.
The dishes appear to be clean and are in their final drying cycle. There's no funky fake fresh smell as you'd notice with a heavily scented commercial detergent. I guess that's good. I don't want to smell anything at all when I drink water...
So far, so good. I will update y'all after I have run a few more loads with the homemade detergent.
Update: The dishwasher finished, and I found some plastic in the top rack had a white powdery film. Boo! I filled the rinsing agent compartment with white vinegar and am running a rinse cycle only to see if that will remove the film. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because it would be really great if this works.
The vinegar as a rinsing aid worked! Excuse me while I do my happy dance! The vinegar removed the white film from the plastic and even my drinking glass was spotless and not hazy at all. So, if you try this homemade dishwasher detergent, the trick is to use white distilled vinegar in your rinsing agent compartment.
Remember I'm terrible at taking photographs, so I apologize for the poor image quality. There was a big difference after using vinegar, even if my bad photos don't show it.
That is as clean as Cascade Complete Action Pacs have ever gotten my dishes. I'm impressed.
Borax (20 Mule Team) and Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda can be found in the laundry aisle at Walmart. At my Walmart, the borax cost $3.38 and the washing soda was $3.24.